UNAIDS Country Coordinator for Jamaica, Bahamas and Belize, Dr. Pierre Somse, says Jamaica's private sector is a pivotal stakeholder in the country's overall efforts at combating HIV/AIDS.
Addressing the Jamaica Employers Federation's (JEF) CEO Breakfast at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel on Wednesday (Sept. 12), Dr. Somse noted the inputs of several private entities to this end, through the establishment of foundations to engage in field work in communities, as well as their implementation of workplace policies and programmes on HIV/AIDS, among other activities.
He stated that with some 32,000 persons living with HIV/AIDS in Jamaica, the private sector’s efforts should go a far way in curtailing the spread of the disease, and to advance the agenda.
"You can be a strong advocate, because you are at…the intersection of all segments of the society and people listen to you. Together, we (at UNAIDS) can end AIDS with you," Dr. Somse said.
He called for more local business stakeholders to give consideration to other interventions such as manufacturing pharmaceuticals for HIV/AIDS.
"It's not only an opportunity for business…it’s a social responsibility," he stated.
UNAIDS is an innovative joint venture of the United Nations (UN) family, bringing together the efforts and resources of 10 UN organizations in the AIDS response to help the world prevent new HIV infections, care for people living with HIV, and mitigate the impact of the epidemic.
With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the UNAIDS Secretariat works on the ground in more than 80 countries worldwide. Coherent action on AIDS by the UN system is coordinated in countries through the UN theme groups, and the joint programmes on AIDS.
Co-sponsors include: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR);United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank.